SHOCK recaps THE WALKING DEAD’s mid-season finale! Spoiler alert!
The calm before the storm…
The only slow moment in tonights episode was the beginning. Before the walkers swarmed in, just like the ants swarmed Sam’s half eaten cookie. I don’t know about you but I was on the edge of my couch the entire episode. There was a cool Easter egg in the opening scene where the camera panned slowly over Sam’s toys revealing invincible mini mates – did you catch it? (Robert Kirkman, creator of THE WALKING DEAD also writes a comic called INVINCIBLE).
Tiny Tim’s classic Tiptoe Through the Tulips plays loud on Sam’s record player, a hint of what our beloved characters will have endure later on. Soon they’ll have to tiptoe through the walkers! The tower falls and crashes down letting in hundreds of new walker residents into Alexandria.
There goes the neighborhood!
Rick yells for everyone to get into their houses and in the chaos, everyone separates. Deanna is finally stepping up and fighting back; she helps save Rick from the hoard of walkers piling into the community, heading straight for him. “You need to get back!” Rick yells to Deanna, “We need to get back” Deanna corrects him. Deanna is still trying to show Rick that there is only one group now.
As the group splits off, Morgan and Carol sprint away from the oncoming wall of death that is consuming the streets of Alexandria. Carol trips over loose bullets which more than likely belong to a clumsy Ron, who stole bullets from the armory in the previous episode. I don’t think it was by chance that Carol ended up with Morgan, she knew exactly what she was doing.
Deanna continues to fight alongside Rick and just in the nick of time Deanna saves Rick from a walker creeping up upon him from behind. In that chain of events it sealed her fate but it was a price she was willing to pay. Maggie is all alone with walkers hot on her trail. This moment was intense to watch; she struggled to make her way up the ladder and onto the observation post but injured herself doing so. She’s a survivor just like her boyfriend Glenn. Laying flat on her back Maggie watches Glenn’s balloons float up into the sky, another reminder for her to fight on.
Remember at the end of the episode Always Accountable, when we heard someone say “Help” on the other end of Daryl’s walkie talkie? Turns out it was just a scared Eugene frightened for his life. Frozen with fear, Eugene is stuck among the hungry visitors but Tara and Rosita arrive in time to help Eugene and the three of them escape into a make shift classroom.
Deanna and Rick continue eluding the walkers and more of our group emerge to help fight them off, as the walkers grow closer Jessie provides back up while the group safely makes their way into her house. More walkers pile into the streets of Alexandria
Glenn and Enid watch helplessly as more dead spill into their home. Enid is still doubting and unsure if Glenn’s plan is right wants to run, but Glenn won’t let her. He is hopeful and won’t give up, not now. “This is how it happens, this is always how it happens.” Enid repeats this and we know she isn’t a stranger to loss. We know she has been through a lot on her own, but she isn’t alone now she has Glenn.
Back to the mayhem of the Walker attack on Alexandria, Sam appears to be in a daze and is only hearing his mother, Jessie’s voice. It appears the effects of being surrounded and trapped have Sam on the brink of insanity. Carol lets Morgan know she doesn’t trust him but he appreciates her telling him the truth. Carol hit her head when she tripped and is not at full strength and they are in the house Morgan has the wolf member locked in the basement. By chance? I think not. Denise is locked in the room with the wolf member and he’s not looking too hot. The wolf member continues to taunt Denise, letting her know that she doesn’t belong here. He believes he wasn’t killing people but freeing them and he doesn’t think what him and his people are doing is wrong. Turns out the he got the infection by cutting himself on a rusty bumper breaking into a car. He explains to Denise that nothing is unfair anymore, Nothing is just or fair. The world will take care of the rest and it won’t change. Denise doesn’t want to believe he was always this way and that he changed and can change again. He is strangely calm and its unhinging Denise. Can she trust him? Should she help him? You can clearly see she is torn
Deanna’s fate is revealed: she was bit when she fell onto the circular saw while saving Rick. Deanna continues to be the comedic relief that this episode desperately needs to lighten the mood at times, I couldn’t help but laugh at all her witty one-liners. Deanna is slowly dying and she comes to a realization while talking to Michonne. She got to do what she wanted up until the end. Michonne knows that Deanna’s plan can still work even now and assures her that her plan will be followed through with.
Round 2 for Carl and Ron takes place in the garage and Ron is packing this time. Ron is filled with rage and tells Carl his father only gets people killed and that he is a killer but Carl gives it right back and says, “So is yours.” Ron seems to be taken back by what Carl said. The silence leads to a speech by Ron, “I’m dead Carl. My mom is dead. My brother is.” Carl interrupts, “no they’re not, we’re going to make this.” “Youre dead, youre dead too.” Ron says to Carl as he locks them both in the garage, putting the keys into his pocket. “We’re all dead!” Before Ron can say anything else Carl in on him, wanting out. A fight breaks out between them; it was a long time coming (round 1 shouldn’t count, it was a slap fight after all) in Ron’s eyes Carl took Enid away from him and let’s face it, Rick took his mom away too. (Like father like son). The scuffle leads to the back door’s window being broken causing noise to draw walkers towards them. The walkers bust into the garage just as Rick axed his way through the locked door. Another close call. Rick feels the tension between Ron and Carl but Carl covers up the fact that Ron tried to kill him and Rick senses something is wrong. Carl isn’t taking Ron’s crap anymore and makes him give up the gun but letting him know his dad deserved what he got, (he wasn’t nicknamed Porch Dick for nothing). Ron continues stewing in his anger.
Rick is alarmed when he hears his daughter Judith crying; Deanna is no longer laying where they left her and rick starts to put two and two together. He begins breathing heavily and swings open the door of Judith’s room to see Deanna in front of her, reaching into the playpen. He reacts quickly, swinging his axe for Deanna’s head but just before he gets close enough she yells out, “it’s still me!” He stops himself mid-swing and apologizes. She just wanted to see her one last time, she thought she could make it but her legs failed her. Rick lets her know someone needs to watch her from now on and it can’t be Judith. I really enjoyed the humour between Deanna and Rick in this entire episode; it would lighten the scene when it got very serious. I really applaud Tovah Feldshuh (Deanna) on her phenomenal acting in those heart to heart moments she had throughout the episode, you really felt for her and believed every minute of it. She wrote notes for her son Spencer and Maggie, which makes us think, why Maggie? Deanna wants Rick to lookout for her son, like one of his own and not to treat him differently, she explains that they are all his people. That is what she wanted him to figure out this whole time. Cue the melodramatic music, playing softly in the background. It’s a moment of realization for Rick. Deanna gives her last speech, “That’s how it is… I didn’t run out there because I liked you. Not because I think you are a good man. A good father. Or you can grow one hell of a beard… I ran over to help because you are one of us. That’s the right answer.” (In the previous episode Heads Up, Deanna wanted Rick to answer her this way but he failed to see what she was trying to get him to realize).
As walkers continue to pile in, Tara, Rosita and Eugene are trapped in world history class. Rosita is slowly loosing hope but Tara is the voice of reason. Rosita asks if this is it and if this place is over but Tara answers no and says that they have to earn it, all of them. A place like Alexandria has a price and Tara doesn’t think they have fully earned it yet. Tara won’t let Rosita fall apart and wants them to start fighting. Eugene is finally useful; he knows how to open a door, lock pick style!
I feel as if Carol is playing it up for Morgan so she can do what she came there to do in the first place, to take care of business. Morgan turns his back for a moment and stealthy Carol disappears getting the keys she needs and out of nowhere Catches Morgan off guard and shoves him over, heading down the stairs. Quickly we are brought back to Jessie’s house being over-run by walkers. The house is no longer safe, walkers flood in forcing Rick and everyone else upstairs. Ricks’ quick thinking saves them by blocking the staircase with a coach. Desperate and knowing there’s no way out… Rick has a plan and it involves guts!
Carol and Morgan hit their boiling point. She wants to tie up this loose end once and for all. As Abraham says, “loose ends make my ass itch.” Morgan won’t back down and won’t let her kill the wolf member like she wants to. It’s a stand-off and Denise is stuck watching this unfold as the tension keeps building between them.
Rick and Michonne drag two dead walkers into the room and he informs those who don’t know of his plan and what he wants to do with the walkers’ guts. At first they are unsure of this but he reassures this will work and that he has done it before. (flashback to season 1 episode 2 Glenn and Rick use Walker guts to camouflage themselves among the walkers to get to the box truck nearby).
As Rick carves into the lifeless walker corpse, father Gabriel gags at the sight and Jessie and Ron watch in awe. All that Gabriel can get out of his mouth is what happens to Deanna. Sam’s record player is still playing in the background and makes me think of the song choice in particular. Could it be a reference to Lizzie’s “look at the flowers” since the song is about tulips? They are facing death but they have to tiptoe around it
Back down to the basement where Morgan and Carol are having their Mexican standoff. Carol doesn’t want to kill Morgan but will if she has to and if he doesn’t let her kill the member of the wolves but he keeps telling her she won’t. (Does Morgan not know who he’s messing with?) Carol pleads to Morgan but he tells her that we can be better then them. Carol states “We are better than them.” But Morgan interrupts, “Not if we kill.” As Morgan tries to convince Carol not to harm his prisoner, he interrupts by confirming he will still get out.
Michonne visits Deanna one last time before they leave. Michonne lets her know that she’ll end it for her before they go but Deanna is not ready, not yet. Deanna wants to end it herself. “I’ll do it myself. It’s my life. Start to finish.” Deanna quotes the Latin she wrote on the blueprints, that her husband Reg use to say. “Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim.” Michonne asks what does it mean and she says, “someday this pain will be useful to you.” She tells Michonne to go and that they need her. Michonne thanks Deanna for believing. She asks Michonne again, “What do you want. Figure it out.” Michonne tells her she will and she means it. Deanna’s last words: “Give Em Hell.”
In the next room the group are covering themselves in walker guts and father Gabriel is still looking nauseous and disgusted but continues going along with the plan, wanting to earn ricks trust and be back on his good side. Sam finally makes his way into the room where they are covering themselves in guts. He’s mortified at what he is seeing but Jessie explains that they have to do this to escape, that they have to look like the monsters and pretend to be brave. Back to the un-renovated basement Carol and Morgan continue their fight and the member of the wolves eggs them on. Carol isn’t asking anymore and Morgan quickly reacts, knocking her knife out of her hand with his staff. They tussle with each other but Morgan gets the upper hand and uses his Aikido (the art of peace) and knocks Carol out. As Morgan is distracted with Carol the member of the wolves knocks Morgan out from behind. Denise is left defenseless and at the mercy of the lone wolf.
It’s time for them to grin and bare it and go through with Ricks plan. Father Gabriel lets Rick know that he won’t give up and he won’t turn back no matter what happens and Rick lets him know that he’s aware. Denise begs the member of the wolves to leave them alone and not to kill them. That they are already dead like he said before and to just let them die. Just as he goes to share what he likes about people he’s interrupted by Tara, Rosita and Eugene. He holds Denise hostage by placing a knife to her throat. He makes them drop their weapons. Tara try’s to talk him out of taking Denise but he won’t have it. He takes her with him, out into the walker filled streets.
The episode is coming to end slowly. Rick gets Judith and they cover her in a gut covered sheet. They are ready to face the walking dead. They slowly squeeze their way by the loitering walkers. Glenn and Enid climb a tree and he spots Maggie stuck and surrounded by walkers. Just as you think Deanna is done and tapping out… She hears walkers closing in and gets up and fights her last battle. She swings the door open and empties her six shooter and gives her last battle cry! Who is Deanna? She’s a tough SOB that’s who
Rick and the group make their way onto the porch and they join hands as one and begin to walk among the hoard. Sam begins to call out mom to Jessie…
Shut up Sam! If you are a comic book reader like me, I know you are freaking out right now. Panel for panel, page for page this is right from the comic book. I’m on the edge of my seat more than ever and they end it like that! But that wasn’t the end… You had to stick around for another small scene after the credits. I hope you stuck around for it. They flashed to Abraham, Sasha and Daryl driving back in Patty (the gas truck) and coming across a road block, but not just any road block: a small group of bikers heavily armed. The leader of the group makes them get out of their vehicle and let them know that nothing belongs to them anymore. They aren’t kidding around and they get straight to the point. They want everything they have and it’s not for them but for Negan! Comic book readers again all cringed when they heard him say his name. The hair on my arms stood up. The walking dead goes on break till February 14th and AMC sure knows how to break our hearts and keep us waiting!
See you back here on Valentines Day!